Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Water, water, eveywhere, nor any drop to drink - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There will points on the course where you will have views of several of the big Central Otago Lakes. Lakes such as Wanaka, Hawea and Dunstan. And you also be very thirsty at that point but with little in the way of drinkable water to be found!

Remembering that this is a self-supported adventure so how much water you carry, and when to replenish, is your responsibility. That said many have not traveled through the stark Central Otago landscape or may be aware of it's unique geography.

It is also the height of summer and it is not unusual for temperatures to reach mid 30's. Combined with the exertion of some climbs (Ok, a lot of climbing) water will become a focus of your journey one way or another.

We won't belabour the point by listing every possible location to gather water on the course but suffice to say several key sections will need to be managed carefully. On the Cycle Trail sections you should learn to fend for yourself as that is the way they have been designed to operate. However the high passes and ranges do present a challenge.

Omarama Saddle - No water till you descend to the Manuherikia West Branch. The river should be OK higher up but once several crossings have been made it is questionable what will wash off the other riders!

Thomsons Gorge - there are some small creek crossings but water will depend on how dry it has been in the week leading up to the brevet. Tarras would be your next opportunity.

Grandview Ridge - no water of any sort so be prepared. you may be able to get some at Long Gully farm but they may tire of being woken at all hours for cyclists wanting water. Hawea is your next option (the lake or the township?)

Pisa Range - Roaring Meg and the Kirtle Burn both should be drinkable but the choice is yours. Lake Mackay on the other side is largely feed from snow melt so should be alright also.

The Old Woman/Old Man Range - surprisingly there are water options. The first is slightly off track at the Old Woman Hut (300-400 metres off track) and the second is a snow feed stream crossing 2/3rds the way along the Old Woman Range. After that there is nothing till you get to Alex.

Swampy Ridge - nothing till you get to Karitane.

Ramrock Road - this is the big one! Devoid of water (though Bucklands Crossing may be an option?) it is a long, hot ride. There are properties alongside the road so if you are desparate then introduce yourself. But this leg requires the largest store of water. You may not find any available till you reach Hyde!

Oasis in the mountains, Lake Mackay on the Pisa Range

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